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Author Topic: Sandra Cantu #4 4/27/09 -  (Read 366125 times)
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« Reply #900 on: August 17, 2009, 07:14:11 PM »

lol klaas. again we share a brain. you can delete my duplicate. TIA Smile
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« Reply #901 on: August 17, 2009, 08:23:46 PM »

Does she have to plead not guilty because it is not a capital case in a DP State ? 
Does she get to plea down ?
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JessStar
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« Reply #902 on: August 17, 2009, 09:43:33 PM »

She does not have to plead not guilty, but probably will. In California, a defendant can plead guilty in a capital case. She can try to plea down. My educated guess is that the case will plead out for life in prison w/o possibility of parole unless Sandra's parents want the DP. JMHO

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« Reply #903 on: August 18, 2009, 08:01:52 AM »

Good morning.
JessStar, does the gag order stay in effect until the time of trial?  Can the gag order continue during trial?  I have gotten spoiled with the Sunshine Laws in Florida.
Thanks.
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« Reply #904 on: August 18, 2009, 08:03:46 AM »

My prayers for the Cantu family.  I would want to move away, but wanting to and being able to are two different things.  I do hope there is a plea so this family doesn't have to go through a painful trial and assuredly appeals.
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« Reply #905 on: August 18, 2009, 08:17:47 AM »

Good morning.
JessStar, does the gag order stay in effect until the time of trial?  Can the gag order continue during trial?  I have gotten spoiled with the Sunshine Laws in Florida.
Thanks.

In all likelihood, the gag order will remain in effect until trial.  Also, I read this morning where Judge Lofthus has sealed the grand jury transcript (which is the right thing to do).  The gag order will not continue during trial.  However, the judge can control her courtroom in whatever way she feels is necessary.  In other words, I doubt you'll be seeing cameras or live streaming or anything like that.  I think she'll run a pretty tight ship. 

Personally speaking, I think the Sunshine Laws in Florida are way over the top.  I think they fail to strike a proper balance between the public's right to know and the public's desire to know.  Trying to control information under those circumstances is like trying to herd cats.  But that's just my personal opinion.  Smile



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« Reply #906 on: August 18, 2009, 08:57:42 AM »

Jess - thank you for all the info...you answered alot of questions I had.
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« Reply #907 on: August 18, 2009, 01:15:01 PM »

http://www.wibw.com/nationalnews/headlines/53573962.html

Posted: 11:21 AM Aug 18, 2009
Former Sunday School Teacher Indicted In Girl's Death

(CNN) -- A grand jury in northern California on Monday indicted a former Sunday school teacher on charges of kidnapping, murder and rape in the death of an 8-year-old girl.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, is accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, who disappeared on March 27 in Tracy, California. Her body was found April 6 in a suitcase in an irrigation pond near the mobile home park where her family lived. Huckaby and her daughter, who played with Sandra, also lived in the mobile home park.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Lee, who was in the courtroom in San Joaquin County on Monday as the indictment was read, told CNN:

"Melissa began weeping as the judge read the charges of murder and rape aloud. ... She was shackled and wore a red jail jumpsuit. Otherwise, she said nothing."

The grand jury heard two weeks of testimony.

In June, Huckaby pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The judge scheduled her next court appearance for September 10, giving her attorney time to review the indictment. No trial date has been set.

The rape accusations, involving special circumstances, are "grotesque to think of," Lee said.

Prosecutors will take about two more months to decide whether to seek the death penalty, because of the special circumstances.

Huckaby appeared in court with several fresh scratches on her forehead, according to Lee. She remains in the San Joaquin County Jail without bail, according to CNN affiliate KCRA.

"There were reports she tried to commit suicide in her jail cell. ... She has previously tried to commit suicide by means of swallowing razor blades," Lee added.
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JessStar
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« Reply #908 on: August 18, 2009, 01:25:46 PM »

Grand Jury Indicts Huckaby For Kidnapping, Rape, Murder
Lonnie Wong

FOX40 News

August 17, 2009

STOCKTON

The San Joaquin County Grand Jury says 28 year old Melissa Huckaby must stand trial for the kidnap, rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. The Tracy girl was reported missing last March. Her body was found a week and a half later stuffed in a suitcase located in a holding pond.

Huckaby is also charged with drugging another 8 year old girl in January and a Hayward man in two unrelated cases. During today's court hearing, a plea was delayed until Huckaby's public defender, Sam Behar, could examine the Grand Jury indictment and until he can have his own experts test several pieces of physical evidence.

Prosecutors say they sought the Grand Jury indictment because proceedings are held behind closed doors. The transcripts were sealed by a judge at today's hearing. Prosecutor Tom Testa says he wanted to avoid a change of venue in the nationally publicized case.

"We really don't want to go to Imperial County or some other county with all the expense involved. We want the case to be tried locally," said Testa.

Testa asked that a trial be set for thirty days after a plea is entered. Testa said several children will be called to testify. "With children, time passes differently.. So it's very important to move the case along. Their memories fade more quickly," said Testa.

But legal analyst and former prosecutor Steven Clark says that's unlikely. "Realistically in a potential death penalty case you would never, never go to trial in 30 days," he said.

Testa also asked Judge Linda Lofthus to insure that Huckaby appear at all court hearings. He referenced an incident this morning involving Huckaby, who had several scratches on her forehead and arm. He would not elaborate because a gag order has been imposed in the case. He did talk about another case involving a jailed murder defendant who three weeks earlier also tried to avoid a hearing.

"He threatened suicide, he banged his head against the walls and Judge Lofthus ordered him to court," said Testa.

Legal analyst Clark says such actions could give the defense more ammunition for a mental incapacity defense strategy. But he also said, "If it's perceived as game plying the court's not going to look kindly on that."

Huckaby is expected to return to court on September 10th to enter a plea and possibly be assigned a date for a trial.

Copyright 2009, KTXL-TV

One must wonder why so many child witnesses.  Sad   

http://www.fox40.com/news/headlines/ktxl-news-huckabyhearing,0,5512381.story
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« Reply #909 on: August 18, 2009, 01:40:19 PM »

Grand Jury Indicts Huckaby For Kidnapping, Rape, Murder
Lonnie Wong

FOX40 News

August 17, 2009

STOCKTON

The San Joaquin County Grand Jury says 28 year old Melissa Huckaby must stand trial for the kidnap, rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. The Tracy girl was reported missing last March. Her body was found a week and a half later stuffed in a suitcase located in a holding pond.

Huckaby is also charged with drugging another 8 year old girl in January and a Hayward man in two unrelated cases. During today's court hearing, a plea was delayed until Huckaby's public defender, Sam Behar, could examine the Grand Jury indictment and until he can have his own experts test several pieces of physical evidence.

Prosecutors say they sought the Grand Jury indictment because proceedings are held behind closed doors. The transcripts were sealed by a judge at today's hearing. Prosecutor Tom Testa says he wanted to avoid a change of venue in the nationally publicized case.

"We really don't want to go to Imperial County or some other county with all the expense involved. We want the case to be tried locally," said Testa.

Testa asked that a trial be set for thirty days after a plea is entered. Testa said several children will be called to testify. "With children, time passes differently.. So it's very important to move the case along. Their memories fade more quickly," said Testa.

But legal analyst and former prosecutor Steven Clark says that's unlikely. "Realistically in a potential death penalty case you would never, never go to trial in 30 days," he said.

Testa also asked Judge Linda Lofthus to insure that Huckaby appear at all court hearings. He referenced an incident this morning involving Huckaby, who had several scratches on her forehead and arm. He would not elaborate because a gag order has been imposed in the case. He did talk about another case involving a jailed murder defendant who three weeks earlier also tried to avoid a hearing.

"He threatened suicide, he banged his head against the walls and Judge Lofthus ordered him to court," said Testa.

Legal analyst Clark says such actions could give the defense more ammunition for a mental incapacity defense strategy. But he also said, "If it's perceived as game plying the court's not going to look kindly on that."

Huckaby is expected to return to court on September 10th to enter a plea and possibly be assigned a date for a trial.

Copyright 2009, KTXL-TV

One must wonder why so many child witnesses.  Sad   

http://www.fox40.com/news/headlines/ktxl-news-huckabyhearing,0,5512381.story



We can only hope that they are Sandra's  an angelic monkey little friends that can vouch they were playing with her on or around said times, and/or she was supposed to show but didnt......

But in this unfortunate and very sad story, that is only a hope.... i guess we will have to wait and see.
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JessStar
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« Reply #910 on: August 18, 2009, 04:54:30 PM »

Attached is the official Indictment for those interested in reading it.  If you have any questions about it, post them, and I'll try to answer them.

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« Reply #911 on: August 18, 2009, 06:26:57 PM »

Grand Jury Indicts Huckaby For Kidnapping, Rape, Murder
Lonnie Wong

FOX40 News

August 17, 2009

STOCKTON

The San Joaquin County Grand Jury says 28 year old Melissa Huckaby must stand trial for the kidnap, rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. The Tracy girl was reported missing last March. Her body was found a week and a half later stuffed in a suitcase located in a holding pond.

Huckaby is also charged with drugging another 8 year old girl in January and a Hayward man in two unrelated cases. During today's court hearing, a plea was delayed until Huckaby's public defender, Sam Behar, could examine the Grand Jury indictment and until he can have his own experts test several pieces of physical evidence.

Prosecutors say they sought the Grand Jury indictment because proceedings are held behind closed doors. The transcripts were sealed by a judge at today's hearing. Prosecutor Tom Testa says he wanted to avoid a change of venue in the nationally publicized case.

"We really don't want to go to Imperial County or some other county with all the expense involved. We want the case to be tried locally," said Testa.

Testa asked that a trial be set for thirty days after a plea is entered. Testa said several children will be called to testify. "With children, time passes differently.. So it's very important to move the case along. Their memories fade more quickly," said Testa.

But legal analyst and former prosecutor Steven Clark says that's unlikely. "Realistically in a potential death penalty case you would never, never go to trial in 30 days," he said.

Testa also asked Judge Linda Lofthus to insure that Huckaby appear at all court hearings. He referenced an incident this morning involving Huckaby, who had several scratches on her forehead and arm. He would not elaborate because a gag order has been imposed in the case. He did talk about another case involving a jailed murder defendant who three weeks earlier also tried to avoid a hearing.

"He threatened suicide, he banged his head against the walls and Judge Lofthus ordered him to court," said Testa.

Legal analyst Clark says such actions could give the defense more ammunition for a mental incapacity defense strategy. But he also said, "If it's perceived as game plying the court's not going to look kindly on that."

Huckaby is expected to return to court on September 10th to enter a plea and possibly be assigned a date for a trial.

Copyright 2009, KTXL-TV

One must wonder why so many child witnesses.  Sad   

http://www.fox40.com/news/headlines/ktxl-news-huckabyhearing,0,5512381.story



We can only hope that they are Sandra's  an angelic monkey little friends that can vouch they were playing with her on or around said times, and/or she was supposed to show but didnt......

But in this unfortunate and very sad story, that is only a hope.... i guess we will have to wait and see.

Earlier I read that it was the child that was playing with her before she disappeared and another one was the little girl she drugged. I'll try and find the article and post it.
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« Reply #912 on: August 18, 2009, 11:59:43 PM »

Sandra..i'm sorry..i'm so sorry baby...it will be ok and you will be ok...your and angel and you are watching all children now.. an angelic monkey an angelic monkey
waiting for you justice...you are not forgotten. an angelic monkey
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OMG  thats soooo Anthony.  (credits to miss Mae)
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« Reply #913 on: August 19, 2009, 12:10:26 AM »

Attached is the official Indictment for those interested in reading it.  If you have any questions about it, post them, and I'll try to answer them.


JessStar, thanks for posting the official indictment.  Does this mean that the indictment against child Jane Doe and the indictment again Plowman will be tried at the same time?
Thanks.
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« Reply #914 on: August 19, 2009, 07:44:50 AM »

Attached is the official Indictment for those interested in reading it.  If you have any questions about it, post them, and I'll try to answer them.


JessStar, thanks for posting the official indictment.  Does this mean that the indictment against child Jane Doe and the indictment again Plowman will be tried at the same time?
Thanks.

Hi Sister.  It's too early to tell.  I imagine the defense will try to "sever" the counts that relate to Jane Doe and Plowman for separate trials.  They'll argue that they are separate, independent crimes that have no relation to the crimes against Sandra, and that to try them together would be unduly prejudicial.  The Prosecution will argue that the crimes are connected enough through a common plan or scheme that they all should be tried together.  I'm not sure what the judge will do with that.  I will say this, though.  If she allows all counts to be tried together, and there's a conviction, you will see an appeal on that issue.

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« Reply #915 on: August 19, 2009, 08:32:57 AM »

Attached is the official Indictment for those interested in reading it.  If you have any questions about it, post them, and I'll try to answer them.


JessStar, thanks for posting the official indictment.  Does this mean that the indictment against child Jane Doe and the indictment again Plowman will be tried at the same time?
Thanks.

Hi Sister.  It's too early to tell.  I imagine the defense will try to "sever" the counts that relate to Jane Doe and Plowman for separate trials.  They'll argue that they are separate, independent crimes that have no relation to the crimes against Sandra, and that to try them together would be unduly prejudicial.  The Prosecution will argue that the crimes are connected enough through a common plan or scheme that they all should be tried together.  I'm not sure what the judge will do with that.  I will say this, though.  If she allows all counts to be tried together, and there's a conviction, you will see an appeal on that issue.


JessStar, I wholeheartedly agree about tying these cases together at trial could prove not be be a good idea.  If these two indictments had already been tried and she was found guilty, isn't the prosecutor allowed to use such findings to indicate a pattern of behavior?  I have a feeling this case will not be tried for a while unless a plea deal is made.  But could they proceed with these other charges?  It also concerns me that she seems to have a pattern of mental unstability (not necessarily legally insane) and her lawyer(s) will probably hop on this train, which just getting evaluations will take a long time.
I totally agree with you about Florida's Sunshine Laws.  They are way over the top in that it does influence cases on so many levels.  (I am thinking of the Anthony case and now the Billings case.  The "public" wants to see the video of the actual murders of Billings which will include one of their minor children), how is that my right? I ask myself and how will that bring about furtherance of justice?  My "right" to know should not be more important than anyone receiving a fair trail (no matter what my personal opinion is) and/or than justice being served.  Frankly, I read many things on these cases and news articles that I don't think I have a "right" to know.  I am glad the Constitution gives me the many "rights" that it does, but when I took my class in constitutional law, I don't recall that I had a right to know everything about everybody.  But me of the older generation where victims at least as important as criminals.  Off my soap box now.
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« Reply #916 on: August 19, 2009, 11:16:06 AM »

Attached is the official Indictment for those interested in reading it.  If you have any questions about it, post them, and I'll try to answer them.


JessStar, thanks for posting the official indictment.  Does this mean that the indictment against child Jane Doe and the indictment again Plowman will be tried at the same time?
Thanks.

Hi Sister.  It's too early to tell.  I imagine the defense will try to "sever" the counts that relate to Jane Doe and Plowman for separate trials.  They'll argue that they are separate, independent crimes that have no relation to the crimes against Sandra, and that to try them together would be unduly prejudicial.  The Prosecution will argue that the crimes are connected enough through a common plan or scheme that they all should be tried together.  I'm not sure what the judge will do with that.  I will say this, though.  If she allows all counts to be tried together, and there's a conviction, you will see an appeal on that issue.


JessStar, I wholeheartedly agree about tying these cases together at trial could prove not be be a good idea.  If these two indictments had already been tried and she was found guilty, isn't the prosecutor allowed to use such findings to indicate a pattern of behavior?  I have a feeling this case will not be tried for a while unless a plea deal is made.  But could they proceed with these other charges?  It also concerns me that she seems to have a pattern of mental unstability (not necessarily legally insane) and her lawyer(s) will probably hop on this train, which just getting evaluations will take a long time.
I totally agree with you about Florida's Sunshine Laws.  They are way over the top in that it does influence cases on so many levels.  (I am thinking of the Anthony case and now the Billings case.  The "public" wants to see the video of the actual murders of Billings which will include one of their minor children), how is that my right? I ask myself and how will that bring about furtherance of justice?  My "right" to know should not be more important than anyone receiving a fair trail (no matter what my personal opinion is) and/or than justice being served.  Frankly, I read many things on these cases and news articles that I don't think I have a "right" to know.  I am glad the Constitution gives me the many "rights" that it does, but when I took my class in constitutional law, I don't recall that I had a right to know everything about everybody.  But me of the older generation where victims at least as important as criminals.  Off my soap box now.

Sister, you raise some very complex questions, especially with regard to the "pattern of behavior" issue.  It all depends on the reason why the prosecution wants to admit the evidence.  Typically, "pattern of behavior" evidence is NOT admissible to prove that the defendant acted in conformity with a "prior pattern of behavior."  Think of it like this.  Assume John Smith was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on June 1, 2009.  Assume also that the evidence shows that John Smith was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol on January 1, 2009, March 1, 2009 and May 20, 2009.  Those convictions cannot be used to show that John Smith was driving under the influence of alcohol on June 1, 2009--i.e., that he acted in conformity with what appears to be a pattern of behavior. 

Now, there are "proper" reasons for admitting that evidence.  For example, the evidence may be admitted to show motive, plan, intent, or lack of mistake.  In this case, I think a VERY strong argument can be made that the evidence of MH's "prior bad acts," that is, her "pattern of behavior" is admissible for any one of those reasons.  However, before that evidence becomes admissible, the prosecution needs to prove Huckaby engaged in those acts.  In my mind, this is the reason why the cases were brought together.  While they don't relate on the facts (because they arise out of a "different transaction or occurrence,") they relate to MH's state of mind--that is, her motive, plan, intent or lack of mistake.

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« Reply #917 on: August 22, 2009, 06:37:48 PM »

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hED9R4znfezDpBuKVJccA5RCIlbAD9A828DG3

Change of venue court cases are extremely rare

By TERRY COLLINS (AP) 5 hours ago

As in most states, judges in California rarely have moved criminal trials. But this year attorneys in several high-profile cases want proceedings relocated because they believe the local jury pool has been contaminated by publicity and the prominence or heinousness of the alleged crimes.

The attorney for a white former transit cop videotaped shooting a black passenger on New Year's day in Oakland wants his murder trial moved. And a venue change request also is expected in the nationally publized case of Melissa Huckaby, a Sunday school teacher accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu this spring in the agricultural town of Tracy.

But prosecutors have taken steps to prevent that by, among other things, moving to keep grand jury transcripts sealed.

"We don't want this case tried anywhere else," San Joaquin County prosecutor Thomas Testa said. "We want it to remain right here."

Venue changes are a longshot in California, where the state Judicial Council reports that only four of the scores of requests during the past two years have been granted.

"It's rare everywhere. Very, very rare," said Robert Weisberg, a law professor and director of the Criminal Justice Center at Stanford University. "The court system does not like it, because they're very complicated and expensive."

Trial relocations are so uncommon nationwide that the U.S. Department of Justice or the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Va., do not keep such statistics. Nor do three of the five largest states: Texas, New York and Illinois.

To win a venue change, defense attorneys must prove that their clients cannot get justice in the county where the crime occurred. And they commonly argue that media attention or community bias preclude a fair trial. Sometimes they contend that the community is so small that potential jurors have a personal connection with the defendant.

"The burden on the defense is fairly hard," said Mike Vitiello, a professor at the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, Calif. "Counsel has to do substantial investigation, polling prospective jurors to show not only familiarty with the case but a settled view of the guilt of the defendant."

(snipped from article)
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« Reply #918 on: August 22, 2009, 07:01:18 PM »

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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Sister
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« Reply #919 on: August 23, 2009, 10:25:41 PM »

JessStar, one more (maybe :>) question:
what is the difference between a "court true name" and a real name of a person?
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